Gregorio Prestopino (1907 - 1984 )

In his day, Gregorio Prestopino was one of the leading painters of the Garden State. Born in the Little Italy section of New York City, Prestopino attended the National Academy of Design at the age of 14. He was influenced by the artists of the Ashcan School and much of his work focused on urban life.

During the 1930s and ‘40s Prestopino exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art; his work was also shown at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. In 1934, he summered at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and in 1954 he became a director of the Colony. During his career he taught painting at the Brooklyn Museum School (1946-51); the New School for Social Research (1950-67); and was an artist-in-residence at Michigan State University (1960).

Days Work

Days Work, 1940, oil on canvas, 44 by 36 inches. Photograph courtesy the Estate of Gregorio Prestopino.
Men and Images

Men and Images, 1948, oil on canvas, 26 by 34 inches. Photograph courtesy the Estate of Gregorio Prestopino.

Susanna, 1980, oil on canvas, 50 by 52 inches. Photograph courtesy the Estate of Gregorio Prestopino.

Prestopino lived in Brooklyn for many years, spending summers at a farm near Clinton, New Jersey. At the farm Prestopino painted in the barn, while his wife - illustrator Elizabeth Dauber - had a studio in the house. In 1949 the artist and his family moved to Roosevelt, New Jersey, a town known for its artist-residents.(1)

Other artists who have lived in Roosevelt include Ben and Bernarda Shahn, their son Jonathan Shahn, Jacob Landau, David Stone Martin and his son, Stefan Martin, and Robert Mueller. Prestopino was buried in Roosevelt after his death in 1984.

(1) Correspondence with Paul and Greg Prestopino, January 2010.

References: (see link below).

Jersey Homesteads/Roosevelt website (see link below).

The MacDowell Colony (see NHPTV link below).

Keene State College:

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